North Carolina Policy Success: Child Care Nutrition/Activity Standards

North Carolina has adopted nutrition, physical activity, and screen time standards for both center and home-based Early Care and Education (ECE) providers!  The American Heart Association (AHA) has an established history of working to promote health regulations for NC’s child care centers and child care homes.  In 2009-2010 AHA worked to support Session Law: 2010-117 Improve Child Care Nutrition/ActivitNorth Carolina Policy Success: Child Care Nutrition/Activity Standardsy Standards which required the NC Child Care Commission to adopt nutrition and physical activity standards.  During the regulatory implementation, AHA testified to support the proposed rules.

This year the Child Care Commission began work to review child care centers and child care homes regulations. During this process the AHA took an active role to provide feedback to the review process. The goals of the standards are to promote overall health and well-being by focusing on emotional and social development, health and physical development, approaches to play and learning, language development and communication, and cognitive development.

Physical activity requirements include a scheduled activity plan, including minimum daily outdoor activity time, and minimum active play time over the age of three. Meals and snacks served to children in NC child care centers will comply with the Meal Patterns for Children in Child Care Programs from the USDA, which are based on the recommended nutrient intake judged by the National Research Council to be adequate for maintaining good nutrition. If children bring their own food for meals or snacks to centers and the food does not meet nutritional requirements, the childcare center will provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements.

Additionally, there are requirements on beverages that can be served by childcare providers: breast milk, formula, water, unflavored whole milk for children ages 12-23 months, unflavored skim or low-fat milk for children 24 months through five years, unflavored skim milk or unflavored low-fat for children six years and older, or 100 percent fruit juice, limited to 6 ounces per day, for all ages.

Leave a Reply